This chapter reviews the transportation services provided by the Mt. Pleasant Independent School District (MPISD) in the following sections:
State law authorizes each Texas school district to provide student transportation to and from school and for extracurricular activities such as after-school athletic and academic events.
Under state law, each district qualifies for a state-funded transportation subsidy, called an allotment. Transportation allotments are intended to fund transportation for regular and special education students to and from school and for career and technology students to and from remote class sites. Regular students are defined as those students attending regular education classes.
Should the district decide to provide transportation, the regular education transportation allotment helps fund transportation for students living two or more miles from school or who face hazardous walking conditions on the way to school. The federal Individual with Disabilities Education Act also requires districts to provide transportation to students with disabilities.
Extra-curricular or activity busing services are not reimbursed by the state. Transportation exceeding the state allotment plus activity or extra-curricular transportation costs are paid with local funds. The purchase of buses is not specifically reimbursed by the state, although it is assumed that operational costs include the purchase of buses, which is figured in to the state allotment.
MPISD provides home to school transportation for regular education, medically determined handicapped or special education, and pregnant and pre-kindergarten students. Activity busing is not funded by the district, and costs must be recovered from the sponsors.
Students who rode an MPISD bus were surveyed by the review team on their perceptions of drivers, discipline, cleanliness of buses, and convenience. The respondents' overall comments were positive (Exhibit 10-1).
Source: TSPR survey results.
Student Perceptions of Transportation
Perception Yes No Percent of Positive Responses Driver on time 74 2 97% Driver Courteous 70 4 95% Discipline consistent 65 9 88% Bus Clean 66 10 87% Bus has a history of mechanical failure 10 64 86% Bus stop convenient 74 3 96%
Exhibit 10-2 shows the miles driven by regular, special education, parenting, pre-kindergarten, and activity buses. During 1997-98, MPISD drove students a total of 591,252 miles. The district does not participate in other state-funded transportation services for bilingual, desegregation, gifted, year-round, or vocational programs.
* Not Reported
MPISD Mileage Summary by Program
Mileage Type Regular Program Mileage Special Education Mileage Parenting Mileage Pre-Kindergarten Mileage Total Mileage Percentage of Total Route 303,492 139,579 13,622 58,784 515,477 87.2% Activity 72,547 3,228 N/R* N/R* 75,775 12.8% Total 376,039 142,807 13,622 58,784 591,252 100%
Source: TEA School Transportation Route Services Report.
Exhibit 10-3 provides a trend analysis of MPISD costs and mileage over a three-year period.
Source: TEA School Transportation Operations Reports.
MPISD Regular and Special Mileage and Costs
1995-96 through 1997-98
Item 1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 Trend Regular Program Operation Costs $536,360 $630,362 $712,057 Up Total Miles Driven 474,716 393,074 385,618 Down Cost per mile $1.130 $1.604 $1.847 Up Annual Ridership 242,820 253,800 284,040 Up Linear Density 0.83 0.909 0.987 Up Special Program Operation Costs $87,669 $102,547 $109,147 Up Total Miles Driven 127,189 101,199 118,146 Down/Up Cost per mile $0.689 $1.013 $0.924 Up/Down
The district operates 44 daily routes: 27 regular program, 8 special education, and 9 early childhood. On the regular routes, children are picked up and dropped off at designated locations. For the special education and early childhood routes, children are picked up and dropped off at their residences.
Exhibit 10-4 shows the number of students transported on each type of route.
Source: MPISD Transportation Department, October 1998.
MPISD Bus Route Summary
Route Time Total Students Transported Regular AM 1,429 PM 1,600 Special Education AM 68 PM 78 Early Childhood AM 200 PM 178 Pregnancy AM 9 PM 9
State transportation reimbursements for special education are based upon the prior year's operations costs as reported to TEA. MPISD received a state reimbursement of $.689 per mile for its special education costs in 1996-97 (Exhibit 10-5). However, 1997-98 reimbursements will go up to $1.013, the actual costs for the previous year. Reimbursements for 1998-99 will be $0.924 based on 1997-98 actual costs.
MPISD and Peer Districts Transportation Costs Per Mile
Special Transportation Program
District Cost Per Mile Reimbursement Per Mile Athens $0.881 $1.01 Greenville $0.978 $1.00 Mt. Pleasant $1.013 $0.689 Liberty-Eylau $1.066 N/A Kaufman $1.106 $1.08 Corsicana $1.132 $1.08 Texarkana $1.210 N/A Terrell $1.383 $1.08 Paris $1.403 $1.08 Kilgore $1.650 $1.08
Source: TEA Transportation Operations Reports, 1996-97.